Messi double leads five-star Barca past Leganes

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Madrid—Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as Barcelona got back to winning ways in La Liga with a 5-1 thrashing at newly promoted Leganes on Saturday.
Barca suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Alaves last weekend, but despite a bright start from the hosts there was to be no repeat of that upset once Suarez teed up Messi to open the scoring after 15 minutes.
Suarez and Neymar tapped home to give Barca a healthy half-time lead before a Messi penalty and wonder strike from Rafinha made it 5-0.
Gabriel Appelt Pires’s fine free-kick pulled a goal back for Leganes 10 minutes from time.
Barca move level with Real Madrid at the top of the table, but Madrid play their game in hand away to Espanyol without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on Sunday.
“We started very well. If we had started sluggishly, thinking we just needed to turn up to win, then we would have struggled a lot more,” said Barca boss Luis Enrique.
Messi, Suarez and Neymar started together for only the second time this season and, just as in a 7-0 thrashing of Celtic on Tuesday, showed no mercy as Leganes’s high defensive line was torn apart in the first-half.
“On one hand their high pressing made things uncomfortable, but on the other hand it meant we could take advantage of the space,” added Enrique.
The hosts were given a warning when Diego Rico blocked Messi’s goalbound effort from Barca’s first counter-attack.
However, Leganes were punished moments later when Suarez showed great strength to burst down the right and his low cross was easily turned home by Messi.The roles were reversed for Barca’s second when Messi was gifted possession inside the Leganes half and waltzed past two defenders before teeing up Suarez for a tap-in.
Leganes did pose a threat going forward as Venezuelan winger Darwin Marchis caused Javier Mascherano, playing in an unfamiliar role on the right of Barca’s defence, no end of problems.
Marchis was desperately unlucky not to halve Barca’s advantage when he was denied by a goal-line block from Samuel Umtiti having beaten Mascherano and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.—AFP